Star Wars Comics history-Return of the Marvel Part One)

*Jumping ahead a bit here from the other Star Wars comics history, but don’t worry, I’ll get back to the many Dark Horse Star Wars comics eventually!*

In 2009, Disney studios bought Marvel.

In 2012, in a surprising move, Lucas sold the rights to Star Wars to Disney, launching new films (Of which we now have III). For over twenty years, Dark Horse comics held the licence to the comics, mixing post-ROTJ fiction with spin-off stories such as Crimson Empire and Rogue Squadron, as well as a great deal of prequel tales, with some of their continuity bleeding over to the films themselves (The blue Twi’lek Jedi, Aayla Secura).

However, by 2014 the licence shifted back to Marvel, along with much of Dark Horse’s canon relegated to non-canon status (or “Legends”) . Marvel’s initial line-up for the series was an ongoing monthly series, a 25 issue Darth Vader series that pretty much tied in with that series (A second Vader monthly was launched recently, but is set at an earlier time after ROTS, although “Doctor Aphra” continues the adventures of characters introduced in DV, although with fewer appearances by the Man in Black) and a rotating series of limited series focusing on a character, starting with Princess Leia.

 

For this article we’ll focus on the first few arcs of the ongoing monthly.

 

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The series was written first by Jason Aaron, well-known at Marvel for his X-men and Thor work. It was drawn by John Cassidy, who had a memorable run on Astonishing X-men with Joss Whedon.

The series begins with the rebels, fresh off the Yavin victory, heading towards Cymoon-1, an Imperial factory world, in order to destroy it. Han-not quite on the Empire’s most wanted list yet-tries to pose as an emissary of Jabba the Hutt, while Luke and Leia try to destroy the facility and also free Imperial prisoners at the same time. Unfortunately, the mission quickly goes south when Vader arrives, and Luke finds himself meeting his father in person for the first time. Except he doesn’t know it yet. Vader however, is kind of puzzled that the boy has his old lightsaber, although he does get a partial answer-that he was trained, in part, by his old friend turned enemy Obi-Wan.

 

 

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Before Vader can interrogate Luke any further, however Han literally crashes the party by commandeering an AT-AT. He also attempts to smoosh Vader with it, but Vader’s got an advantage…..

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Although he doesn’t get stepped on, Han uses the AT-AT’s blasters on him which knock his helmet off-and once Vader recovers, isn’t too happy about that and would rather not his face be shown. Scratch one Stormtrooper witness.

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Eventually, the factory is destroyed and the group escape, although this encounter leaves Luke and Vader with more questions about each other’s identity. Luke takes a leave of absence for the alliance, while Han and Leia go on a scouting mission of their own, but end up getting shot down by TIE fighters. Their unlikely savior? Solo’s “wife” Sana, although this in fact part of a con he had pulled years before.

 

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Meanwhile, looking for more answers, Luke goes back to Tatooine to see if he can glean anything from Obi-Wan’s hut (He does find a journal). However, Vader has also hired Boba Fett to capture him. Although he’s unable to capture the young jedi, he’s able to glean something else from one of Luke’s fellow Tatooine youths. A name: Luke Skywalker.

 

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These events sort of match up with the “Darth Vader” monthly, in which Boba tells Vader the name of the youth (I’ll cover the DV issues a bit later). Vader-shocked by this revelation and that the Emperor sort of lied to him, uses his force powers to crack a Star Destroyer window, and vows to not only make Luke his, but the Empire as well….

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Star Wars-The Big Question-Who are Rey’s parents? *possible spoilers!*

Along with the background of villain Supreme Leader Snoke, this is probably the no.1 question on Star Wars fan’s minds….who were Rey’s parents?

 

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Rey is introduced in “The Force Awakens” living alone on Jaaku, collecting junk from the long-ago battle (chronicled in many Star Wars novels and games by now) and selling it for food. She also appeared to be semi-raised by Unkar Platt, but like with Watto and Anakin there’s little love lost between the two.

We know that Rey was left on Jaaku by her parents, as revealed in the force vision in Maz’s castle. We don’t know anything really beyond that, except that she was waiting on Jaaku for them to come back, and once she embarked on her journey, she was often adamant about going back in case they showed up. How and why are of course still unknown.

 

 

 

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Let’s look at some of the candidates.

 

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Luke

Of course, the big one, and perhaps the most obvious. Luke of course might have had reasons for leaving her behind (although it’s fairly implied by some sources that Luke’s exile/Ben’s fall is fairly recent, about 5 years before, and Rey is born considerably earlier).  If Luke is the father, makes you wonder who the mother is; and while Luke of course got married and had a son (and also apparently didn’t age for twenty years) in the now non-canon Expanded Universe legends stuff (His Jedi order was a bit different on the attachment/marriage issue)….

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…Maybe his giving away of Rey has something to do with the Jedi rules forbidden attachment? Although of course Luke’s attachment to his father brought him back to the light in the end, Anakin’s fear about Padme’s death drove him in part to the dark side. Maybe Luke in this continuity is trying to follow the old Jedi rules? Then again, wouldn’t his nephew, Ben (Who, ironically, is the name of his son in the “Legends” stuff) count?

 

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Certainly Rey being related to Luke would explain why the Lightsaber “calls” to her, and her affinity for the force. The second trailer for “The Force Awakens” also used Luke’s line from ROTJ, although edited a bit. “The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too”. Although of course nothing was revealed in TFA regarding that (Unless you count Ben/Kylo, as he’s that same bloodline as well), it still makes you think….

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Plus of course Rey’s also a good pilot and mechanic, which of course also apply to Anakin and Luke…. (although I wouldn’t say piloting is genetic…)

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But it could also apply to….

 

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Han and Leia

I gotta admit, this one’s considerably more far-fetched and unlikely. Rey’s a good pilot and pretty much the new captain of the Millennium Falcon, and of course saw Han as a father figure. While many also speculated that Rey was their daughter in the initial buildup to TFA, neither Han or Leia seems to have any family connection. Also, why would they dump their daughter behind and simply raise Ben? Although the Falcon eventually ends up on Jaaku, I’m thinking there isn’t any connection here either. Although being a good pilot and a Jedi are both attributes of their “Legends” daughter, Jaina Solo…..(Who almost got her own book series before the Lucasfilm sale to Disney pulled the plug).

 

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Obi-Wan Kenobi

While this one’s also far-fetched, it’s gained a bit of traction, and could explain why we hear Ben’s voice-in a mix of Alec Guiness(“Rey!”) and Ewan Mcgregor’s (“There are your first steps”) when her force vision ends. While Kenobi of course is shown to be a pretty straight-laced Jedi in the films, the “Clone Wars” series established that Obi-Wan had a past relationship with the queen of Mandalore, Satine (Which is said to not be an intentional Moulin Rouge reference, but it just seems like a major coincidence if it isn’t)

 

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….and nearly left the Jedi Order for her (presumably during his apprenticeship under Qui-Gon). The two were reunited during the wars, and still had some feelings for each other, although Obi-Wan of course was committed to the Jedi Order. Their story forms an interesting parallel to Anakin/Padme’s. Unfortunately, Satine is later killed.

 

 

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Although Satine leaves no heirs, this does show that Obi-Wan, much like his apprentice-but with less recklessness and anger-was sometimes willing to ‘bend’ the rules of the order just a bit….and so it’s possible he might’ve gotten in a relationship during his exile on Tatooine-or perhaps even earlier? That could’ve produced a son or daughter who might also be one of Rey’s parents. (He’s a bit too old and dead to be Rey’s direct parent, unless we’re talking something like Anakin’s birth). It also could explain Rey’s British accent.

 

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Palpatine

While Palpatine never is shown to have taken an Empress or any form of female relationship, several of the old “Legends” expanded universe books did imply that he did possibly have heirs. They were….a bit odd, to say the least….Triclops, Triocolous from the strange YA books, and Irek Ismaren, AKA “Lord Nyax”, whose eventual form in the New Jedi Order books looks more like a video game boss than a believable Star Wars villain.

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The last two ended up as pretenders to the throne, although the first one was kind of legit. Anyway, like with Kenobi, it’s possible, although somewhat more unlikely, and would form an interesting link with Kylo Ren-both being the grandchildren of Sith Lords….

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Snoke

Here’s another theory, that Rey is possibly related to Snoke somehow. Granted, we don’t know much about Snoke quite yet, although he does appear to have a larger-and more corporeal-role in The Last Jedi. Could his talk of “raw power” be him talking to Rey?

 

“When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.”

Somehow supported by Luke later on, talking to Rey…

“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me then. It does now.”

Of course, in both instances this could be referring to Kylo Ren….but maybe not?

 

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Jyn Erso

This gained a bit of traction before Rogue One came out, due in part to her similar looks and accent. Since then, not so much, for good reason .

 

 

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Idien Verso and Del Meeko

This is a new one.

 

Spoilers for Battlefront II-these two former Imperial “Inferno Squad” special forces members who eventually defect to the rebel alliance, fall in love, and apparently get married and have a daughter, although Meeko eventually meets his end at Kylo Ren’s hand. An upcoming DLC will continue her story. Some fans of course assume that the daughter might be Rey, but  I think that’s a bit far fetched. Even though the “Lucasfilm story group” generally keeps the movies/comics/novels/games tightly connected these days compared to the old EU, with several characters crossing over (Admiral Rae Sloane, for instance) I seriously doubt they’d have such an important plot point be relegated to spin-off media that will probably be seen by a fraction of the viewing audience. Although there is a bit of precedent for this-Poe Dameron’s parents were revealed in a Marvel Star Wars comic, Shattered Empire.

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But let’s face it, Poe’s parentage isn’t exactly a big deal, and from all accounts he was raised pretty normally by these people (and of course inherited his mother’s piloting skills) as opposed to Rey and Finn. So it’s not a huge plot point like Rey’s parents.

 

Just Some ordinary people

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In Marvel comics history, part of the reason that Steve Ditko left the Amazing Spider-Man is that he had a different idea for the reveal of the man behind the mask of the Green Goblin-he would just be some ordinary guy Peter Parker didn’t know. Stan Lee however, decided to have him be Norman Osborn, a character introduced a few issues before, and the father of Peter’s college friend, Harry Osborn.

So perhaps the ‘reveal’ will be something like Ditko’s original plan for the character, and not some “big reveal” like Stan’s plan, or of course, that other famous Star Wars revelation….

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So maybe the parents aren’t that important or any character we’re aware of at all, maybe they couldn’t care for Rey somehow, didn’t care to, gave her to Platt to pay off some debt etc. or were scared of her force powers or something.

There was no father.

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One of the other theories that’s a bit weird is that Rey doesn’t have a parent, or even that she’s actually a reincarnation of Anakin, and that maybe it’s the force making amends for kind of screwing up that whole thing in the first place.

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While an interesting theory, it just seems a bit weird even for Star Wars, although I’m sure the film will delve into some arcane Jedi lore, if the shots in the trailer of the books in Luke’s tree are any indication. But something kind of feels a bit too hokey about this one. And it would certainly make the training a bit awkward for Luke.

 

Star Wars comics history-A Tale to Tell

Around 1999, Dark Horse debuted an anthology Star Wars series, which would feature multiple Star Wars stories from a variety of creators. While some were serious, others played a bit more with the continuity and visual style-including, most memorably perhaps, Peter David’s “Skippy the Jedi Droid”, which had “Red” (R5-D4) malfunction on purpose, as he was in fact a droid jedi who knew the importance of R2’s mission. For the most part, the series was released quarterly (4 times a year), and given the usual “annual” size of 64 pages. Each issue would feature a few short stories, although they were occasionally serialized stories as well.

 

Or “A Death Star is Born” by Kevin Rubio …

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Which-with it’s send-up of the Imperial logo-seemed to predict Star Wars’s eventual ownership.

Others took a more serious approach, but were still a bit ‘out there’-one tale implying that Vader did, in fact, recognize C-3PO and practically gave him over to Chewbacca to fix.

Or the Vader/Darth Maul confrontation (Maul being resurrected by a group of Monks) or something like that (Vader impales his own cyborg body to kill Maul again).

One of the more inventive stories has the Millenium Falcon somehow jump from hyperspace to crash-land on  Earth after a deadly space battle, with Han dying-Chewbacca however, lives on from the point of “A Long Time Ago” to the middle of the twentieth century, creating the legends of sasquatch….one that’s eventually investigated by Indiana Jones, of course Harrison Ford’s other most famous role. There’s a nice nod here to the old Indiana Jones “Fate of Atlantis” comic and Adventure PC game, while Indiana saying the skeleton looks familiar somehow is also a nice touch.

 

Others fit a bit more easily into continuity, with an early issue having Vader confront the “Dark Woman” a mysterious Jedi master who also appeared in various issues of the Prequel-Era Star Wars monthly (Later called “Republic”)

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It also didn’t shy away from using popular EU characters such as Mara Jade, former Imperial agent who eventually becomes Luke’s wife….

Or Kyle Katarn, mercenary turned Jedi knight featured in a series of video games, featured in a “New Jedi Order” era story.

 

The series wrapped up in 2005, with the serial “Nomad”, a revenge tale about a mercenary who tracks down a dark jedi.

 

 

 

 

Star Wars Comics History-Age of the Empire

While it was currently running the prequel-era “Republic” comics, Dark Horse also began a second monthly, featuring events during the Original trilogy era.

 

The series started with the Betrayal arc, in which a series of Grand Moffs-who don’t like being ruled by two Sith Lords-try to organize a coup against the Emperor and Vader. Of course, it doesn’t quite go well.

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The arc also introduced-and quickly got rid of-Grand Moff Tractha, who like Vader has Cybernetic replacements; however, he later showed up in the “early Empire” story Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, and even got a Hasbro figure.

 

After a brief interlude with Princess Leia (“Princess, Warrior”) taking place slightly before “A New Hope”, and a Boba Fett issue by the team who wrote his one-shots “trilogy”, we’re given the second major arc with “Darklighter”.

The comics largely detailed the backstory of Biggs Darklighter, an old friend of Luke’s, who dies on the Death Star trench run.

A lot of Bigg’s role and backstory in the movie was deleted (although one scene was restored for the special edition). In older cuts, Luke actually appears far earlier in the movie, spotting the space battle overhead and running to tell his friends, including Biggs who is on leave from the Imperial academy. The two get to have a talk, in which Biggs confides in him that he’s joining the Rebellion.

The comic builds heavily on not only this, but also Bigg’s short career as a TIE fighter pilot, with the artistic choice to make the helmet translucent to better show the emotions of the characters. The issues with the Darklighter aren’t actually sequential (perhaps due to the time needed to finish the detailed art) and were broken up between standalones.

After two more standalones-one featuring a Stormtrooper on the Death Star, and another revealing what happened to Vader after his TIE went out of control at the end of the film, we get another new arc after the Darklighter issues finally finish.

 

The next arc deals with an Imperial batallion dealing with a large group of hostile, flatworm-like “Anamamen”

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Represented in the films by this kin of creepy guy.

They’re led by Janek Sunber, whose story also ties into Luke and Biggs…

After this arc ends we get a short interlude with Vader targeted by the Faleen, an alien species who’s homeworld was messed up by Vader (This also ties into the Shadows of the Empire storyline).

What follows are a few adventures with Han, Leia, and Chewbacca, one in particular introducing the character Deena Shan, who plays a significant role in the final arc of the series.

 

The next major arc-after a Boba Fett standalone and a two issue-story where Luke recruits a former Clone trooper into the alliance-we get “In the Shadows of their Fathers”. This is a sequel to the “Battle of Jaabim” arc, with the Jaabim rebels not being too pleased with how things went down during the Clone Wars, where another man by the name of Skywalker abandoned them. It’s got some pretty cool covers…

 

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It ends with Luke leaving the planet, but somewhat unsettled by what he’s learned, that his father might not have been the great hero he thought he was, and  that Obi-Wan was ‘killed’ on the planet. He wonders what Ben was keeping from him…

The final arc is “Wrong Side of the War”, where Luke, Deena, and other rebels go undercover in Imperial outfits as part of a rebel infiltration and strike force. However, things don’t go quite smoothly. Deena falls in love with an Imperial officer during the mission, and Janek Sunber shows up, and recognizes Luke. We learn that Janek is in fact, Luke’s old buddy “Tank”-mentioned in Star Wars as having left like Biggs did to join the Empire, but unlike Biggs, he didn’t join the rebels….he recognizes Luke, but only as his old friend, who he’s convinced also joined the Empire, not knowing that Luke is a rebel hero. Of course, Luke’s true allegiance is finally figured out-but Sunber is reluctant to join the alliance, as he believes in the Order of the Empire.

 

The storyline continues in the sequel series “Star Wars  Rebellion”, which I will cover in the next article.

 

 

Star Wars Comic History-Wars On Infinite Galaxies Part Two-There is Another

 

In this second alternate take on the trilogy, Luke actually succumbs to his wounds from the Wampa attack. Before he passes, the delirious Luke relays Obi-Wan’s message…and suddenly Han believes he’s the chosen one!

 

Luke’s funeral distracts the characters from finding out about the probe droid, and so the Empire’s able to do a sneak attack. Like in the film, the “Falcon” escapes but makes it to Bespin without entering the asteroid field. Things on Bespin play a lot differently, with Boba-unmasked (This came out at the same time “Attack of the Clones” was released, and pretty much “unmasked” Fett and revealed his backstory, so naturally the artists probably wanted to use that)

Fett arrives at Bespin but, without the backup of the Empire, he’s outsmarted by Lando and co, and becomes the carbonite victim instead of Han.

 

Unfortunately, when Vader does arrive after Han and co. leave he’s not too pleased and destroys the city-Lando and frozen Fett included.

Han and co. make it to Dagobah, where Yoda pretty much spills the beans about Vader being Leia’s father, and Han definitely not being a Jedi.

While Leia gets trained by Yoda instead of Luke…..

 

Han and Chewie head to Tatooine to pay off Jabba the Hutt, minus the whole ROTJ plan, although things don’t go quite well. In yet another crossover with “Attack of the Clones”, instead of a rancor we get two Nexu (The cat-like arena monster):

Meanwhile-Vader-dissecting his old friend C3PO after Han and Chewie escape from Jabba’s clutches-leaving the poor droid behind-and shows up to battle Leia and Yoda. Yoda first battles him on the astral plane, causing a strange effect to Vader’s armor that makes it look a lot like the old Mcquarrie design, and he even removes his helmet to reveal Padawan Anakin Skywalker (With Hayden’s AOTC likeness-AOTC connection #3), but he’s able to overcome the illusions and defeat Yoda. Then father and daughter have a duel…

 

….but it’s Han that delivers the deathblow with his blaster when he returns. Works better here than it does in the actual film, it seems….

Although that’s not nearly as bad as what happened in “Empire’s End” with cloned Palpatine.

“Han shot first” indeed.

Vader is then burned ROTJ-style by Leia, but there’s still the rest of the Empire to worry about-although Dark Horses’s infinities twist on ROTJ wouldn’t follow this one, but also be self-contained.

Star Wars: What’s the third spin-off?

Since 2012 Disney has owned the rights to Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise, and have pretty much dedicated themselves, since the release of “The Force Awakens” in 2015, to releasing at least one Star Wars film per year, similar to their pattern with Marvel Studios (although now Marvel studios is moving much faster with the films since their initially slower roll-out). In addition to finally releasing the sequel trilogy of films, Disney also has started working on “Spin-off” films. While not necessarily 100% new in Star Wars-there were two TV movies featuring the Ewoks in the 80’s, and the pilot of the CG-animated “Clone Wars” was released in theaters in 2008, these films are intended to be more ambitious.

The first two spin-offs are already underway-of course, there’s the recently released “Rogue One” which dealt with the theft of the Death Star plans:

 

….and the upcoming Han Solo film which will tell of the younger years of the Smuggler hero…. (as well as his friends Chewbacca and Lando)

 

However, Disney has largely remained silent on what the third spin-off will feature. Will it follow the trend and be sort of a prequel like Rogue One and Han (although set much closer to the films than the prequel trilogy), or will it deal with something else entirely?

Here’s some speculation-shared by others on the internet-about what exactly this mysterious spinoff will feature.

Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi

A lot of people are fairly interested in a film featuring the time when Obi-Wan was a hermit living on Tatooine, protecting Luke and hiding from the Empire and his former student, Darth Vader. While this might sound a bit boring, there’s a possibility Obi-Wan could get into scrapes on Tatooine that could provide some sort of story-perhaps a showdown with Jabba the Hutt? Or maybe a mission that, for some reason, takes him temporarily off Tatooine. By the time of the OT, Obi-Wan’s certainly a more seasoned Tatooine citizen, well-aware of the dangers of Tusken Raiders and Mos Eisley spaceport, while in the PT he only spent a brief time there. Ewan Mcgregor has expressed some interest in playing Obi-Wan again (Indeed he did a small voice-over as Obi’s force ghost in “The Force Awakens”, a role that some feel that-although one of the highlights of the prequel trilogy-was let down by George Lucas’s directing and writing.

 

Yoda

Yoda is of course the old Jedi Master who was pretty much one of the leaders of the Jedi during the Clone Wars-and later of course trained Luke, but he was already a Jedi by the time of the prequels. It could be interesting to see his younger years, how he became a master himself. Such a film might be a bit effects-heavy though due to Yoda’s nature, and I imagine a whole movie revolving around him would be quite difficult to write giving how he tends to talk in backwards sentences.

 

Boba Fett

The bounty hunter is of course one of the most iconic OT characters, although one with a small amount of screen time and dialogue. Part of his backstory-that he was a clone of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, something he shares in common with the Clones from the Clone Wars (although he is not as enhanced as they are)-is revealed in “Attack of the Clones”, and he took up his father’s profession and a similar armor to embark on a similar career, some of which is brought up in the Clone Wars TV series. Some people are hoping that this will be the third spin-off, but arguably Boba was most effective wearing the mask, and with little backstory, and for an entire film to focus on that, surely some of him being unmasked-and the AOTC backstory brought up-would have to be addressed. Perhaps he’ll appear in the upcoming Han Solo film as well, but we’ll wait and see.

 

Darth Vader

Now, technically we’ve already had three Darth Vader films which flesh out his backstory-the prequel trilogy, but there’s still a little bit that can be elaborated on, such as his early years helping the Empire ‘hunt down’ the rest of the Jedi Knights after Order 66. Certainly, his brief appearances in Rogue One were considered the highlight of those films. However, while I’m sure Vader will have some role in future spinoffs, I’m not sure how much further they can take his story.

Emperor Palpatine

Although he’s of course the ‘true’ villain of the franchise, Palpatine’s origins before the Phantom Menace-when his evil plan to control the galaxy are already underway-remain shrouded in mystery, except that he was once apprenticed to Darth Plageuis  and then killed him. A novel, “Darth Plagueis”-revealed more of his backstory, but that novel is now no longer canon. Could Palpatine have been, like Anakin, sort of good and then corrupted? How did he meet and train Darth Maul, or corrupt Count Dooku or Darth Plagueis? Not necessarily a great idea-the political machinations of the Prequels many thought were boring (although Palpatine himself is considered a highlight), but just kind of throwing this one out there.

The Old Republic

Since the 90’s, there’s been a fascination with the ‘ancient’ Star Wars universe-the time when both the Jedi and the Sith were at their peak and locked in a series of wars, and the Republic was otherwise flourishing. This subject, in addition to some comic series, also became the focus of the “Knights of the Old Republic” game series (Worked on in part by the company Bioware, which would later work on the “Mass Effect” series using some of the tools learned from KOTOR), as well as the still-running MMORG, The Old Republic. Many fans are really hoping that this type of story could be made into a movie, although with some modifications to fit in with the new timeline.

Poe Dameron

 

Why not someone from the new Trilogy? Although Rey’s pretty much the lead, and Finn seems pretty much the co-lead, Poe Dameron was sort of a distant third, and kind of vanished for most of the middle of the film. Nevertheless, the character’s backstory and character have been heavily fleshed out by Marvel comics in both the Shattered Empire and his own titled series, and seems like he’d be the most “spin-off ready” characters, depending on how the sequels utilize him. After all, we’re getting a Han Solo movie, and he was one of the main characters of the OT.

 

Legends of Star Wars: Post-Return of the Jedi – or”Duel of the Original Trilogy Fates” Part I

*Spoilers for the books and the new films*

 

In this series of articles, I’ll examine how the recently “de-canonized” Expanded Universe-the pre-Disney books, comics, video games etc. dealt with areas of Star Wars not covered by the movies-and how they compare to Disney’s ‘new canon’, which is composed of mainly, at this point:

  1. The saga films-Episodes I-9, with 8 and 9 still in production
  2. Spin-offs, such as Rogue One
  3. The 2008-2013 Clone Wars TV series and film
  4. The Rebels animated series
  5. Del Rey’s post-2014 novels
  6. The Star Wars comics by Marvel from 2014 onward

The old stuff is still sold, but is now branded with the term “Legends” to distinguish it from the Disney product.

Anyway, I’ll start mainly with character comparisons. These will mainly deal with the “Big three” OT characters for now, and pretty much only deal with their fates as of “Force Awakens”. I’ll probably provide a follow-up for “Last Jedi” at some point next year. Future articles will deal with other characters, settings, other comparisons etc.

 

Luke Skywalker

In both versions, Luke goes about re-building the Jedi Order. However, there’s one key difference.

He’s actually successful. He builds a sort of Jedi Academy on Yavin IV in the ruins of the old Rebel Base (which is later moved into the old Temple on Coruscant). Although it has a few bumps in the road- students (and Luke briefly) going to the dark side, interference from the New Republic, Imperial attacks, Yavin IV pretty much getting invaded or attacked by Imperial remnants and Vong etc. Luke’s order actually lasts a pretty long time, until the events of the “Legacy” series. Luke even settles down and marries his former enemy Mara Jade, and they have a son, Ben Skywalker, although Mara eventually is killed.

 

Luke’s Jedi Order in the Force Awakens? Not so lucky.

In both cases, Luke has to go into exile, but for different reasons, although they both involve Han Solo’s son going to the dark side.

In the “Fate of the Jedi” series, he is exiled after not only does his nephew Jacen go to the dark side and becomes a Sith Lord who plunges the galaxy once again into war, but also a group of Jedi start to go a bit mental shortly thereafter, and he takes the heat for it. He eventually is freed from this though, although he does take the oppurtunity to try to figure out exactly why his Nephew went bad, and discovers interesting new force users-and a new group of Sith-on the way.

 

In “Force Awakens” we learn that his Nephew Ben Solo fell to the Dark side, became Kylo Ren and killed (or also brought over to the dark side?) his students, although it’s not quite clear when this happened prior to the film. His exile seems to be self-imposed, although for some reason he’s looking for the original Jedi temple or something.

 

Han Solo/Chewbacca

 

In both continuties, Han marries Leia shortly after the events of “Return of the Jedi”. They remain more or less hapilly married (although with a few bumps in the road), and have three kids: The twins Jaina and Jacen, and Anakin (Named after his grandfather). Also, if the cover’s any indication (This novel is set around the same time as “Force Awakens” in the other timeline), he seems to be have aged a bit more gracefully. Although Chewbacca dies (more on that later  on) Anakin is killed during a Jedi mission, and Jacen goes to the dark side and is also killed by his sister no less, Han still keeps it together, with him and Leia even semi-adopting their granddaughter, Jacen’s daughter with fellow Jedi Tenel Ka.

 

Force Awaken’s Han Solo is a bit more down on his luck. After Ben went to the dark side and became Kylo Ren, he became estranged from Leia, and went back to smuggling with Chewbacca. He even got the Millenium Falcon stolen! However, the events of “The Force Awakens” help him to make a difference again, and he tries to redeem his son.

Now here’s where another thing is a bit different: Death.

 

In the novel series “The New Jedi Order” Chewbacca sacrifices himself saving Anakin Solo, and then gets crushed to death by a moon. This leaves Han devestated for a time, but he eventually is able to pull himself back together and help defeat the Yuzzhan Vong.

Movie Han? Once again, not so lucky.

Chewbacca unfortunately has to mourn for his friend, but not before knocking out a few Stormtroopers and also injuring his “nephew” Kylo Ren. After a period of mourning, he also accepts that life goes on and accepts Rey as the new Captain of the Falcon as they head to find Luke.

 

 

Princess Leia

In both cases, Leia becomes a politician for a time before moving onto other things, and eventually marries Han shortly after “Return of the Jedi”, and pretty much everything I wrote for Han in that period applies here too. In both cases, Leia eventually mostly leaves politics behind after a time, and here’s a key difference. In the novels, she decides to accept her Jedi inheritance fully at last, although after her kids become Jedi.

In the new continuity, Leia also leaves politics although in this case, it’s in part because a scandal reveals that she’s the daughter of Darth Vader to everyone, especially when she takes a hard line on the growing threat of the First Order. Also estranged from Han, she forms her own small force, the Resistance, becoming “General Organa”. Although not a Jedi, she still has force skills, as we see her ‘feel’ the death of Han (or alternatively Ben/Kylo’s feelings). Of course, her main quest in addition to fighting the First Order? Finding her brother so he can help her sort out this mess.

 

Unfortunately, with the death of actress Carrie Fisher (Although she had filmed her “Last Jedi” scenes, Leia’s fate in the sequel trilogy is in a state of flux now. But we’ll see what happens.